Let me start by saying I have not eaten meat in almost 19 years (over half my life). I eat seafood 3-6 times a month. A year ago I cut out dairy on the advice of a Naturopath & introduced organic eggs (after never really enjoying eggs previously). I am 85-90% vegan.
I feed my children organic beef, lamb, chicken & sustainable fish. I occasionally buy nitrate-free ham for them. Quality is extremely important to me & I am always willing to pay more for this. They have some non-organic meat (such as when we go to sushi or they get a bacon & egg roll at the Farmer’s Market). They also consume dairy – I ONLY give them organic milk & organic butter. As a side story, I bought my sons a different organic milk a few weeks ago & they refused it, saying they would only drink “the one with the green lid”. If they said they no longer wanted to eat meat, or consume dairy, I would support them but get the advice from a health professional as to what substitutions they may require.
Everyone could benefit from eating less meat.
I am stereotyping here but I don’t believe the extreme approach of some vegans is beneficial & actually encourages people away from a more vegan/vegetarian/plant-based diet. In fact, some omnivores just end up picking fights because of the inability of some vegans to see any different. Ironically a lot of the vegans I follow on Instagram, grew up eating meat & animal products; yet cannot see beyond being a strict vegan, despite having previously led this lifestyle. Let’s assist omnivores by showing them what amazing vegan combinations can work so well to create a delicious salad / curry / roast / soup. Invite your omnivore friends over & present them with a vegan meal & see if they think something is missing. Ask them to consciously write a food diary to see how many times they consume meat a week. Or like a brilliant lecture I watched in my IIN study, commit to being a vegan for certain time frames- eg this lecturer committed to being “vegan til 6pm” every day, which he had committed to for over 5 years. That meant a plant-based breakfast & lunch, then when he came home for dinner, he could choose a vegan meal, but also wouldn’t feel guilty for consuming good quality meat.
Let’s work as a team – we know there are environmental benefits to consuming vegetables over meat such as what is needed in terms of water/food/land/antibiotics/cost to make an animal from birth to plate. We also know that many people can thrive on a vegetarian diet (although there aren’t as many lifetime vegans). We need to factor in bio-individuality, & what one person can thrive on, others can’t. There are some beautiful role models like @thebalancedblonde who was vegan, then admitted the lifestyle didn’t work for her & of course polarised opinions (I say you go girl & you have every right to eat what your body thrives on). Also @onehungrymami – who was raw vegan a while, then vegan with the odd egg thrown in (again, good on you for being you & your transparency). There is another babe whose name I’m annoyed I can’t currently recall who is predominately plant based but recently posted an image accompanied with a caption about the smell of the roast/bacon in her house. Instant outrage & vitriol was spewed by the ‘loving’ vegan followers. What about the fact this awesome human supports a vegan diet 95% of the time? Does that really not count for anything? I support vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians & omnivores. Not everyone thrives on a vegan lifestyle. Some people try diets including Paleo, eating for their blood type & Ayurveda, but the only thing that can really teach you what you will thrive on is trial & error. I dine out with friends & family, & am not offended by them eating meat. I am encouraging my Mum to try bone broth to assist in recovery from knee surgery. Ironically, vegans are not always the healthiest of people, with many enjoying a high-fructose diet; & monomeals of particular fruits. There is also debate over how healthy soy products are, with many experts encouraging us to avoid them.
I would like to encourage those who follow an omnivore diet to try at least 14 out of 21 meals per week to be plant-based. Part of why I post the food I enjoy is to show how easy this can be. I am not the type to eat 50 bananas a day, I don’t have a diet high in fructose, I don’t like potatoes or pasta.
So what do I eat?
I eat organic gluten-free bread because it makes me feel better than gluten-based bread (my absolute favourite is Naturis buckwheat bread).
In winter I love to make a buckwheat ‘porridge’ with apple, berries & of course, a big dollop of almond butter.
I eat nuts or nut butters, & seeds – almost every meal I have has sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top for a little protein hit.
I enjoy whole fruits – current favourites are strawberries & pink grapefruit (obsessed), as well as the occasional whole apple (usually slathered with peanut butter) & oranges (which were brilliant for morning sickness)
I love vegetables – sweet potato is a staple (we go through about 4 a week), I love lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, pumpkin, celeriac, tomatoes, avocadoes, cucumber, beetroots, snow peas, eggplant, parsnip. I use tons of herbs & spices to add flavour – ginger, thyme, basil, parsley, mint, coriander, cumin. I can’t tolerate onion or garlic.
I have legumes a couple of times a month – in a chickpea fritter, or a curry.
I use a lot of olive oil (perhaps too much), & love organic mustard & apple cider vinegar, as well as salt, pepper & chilli to season.
I make my own chocolate from cacao butter, cacao, tahini with either stevia or rice malt syrup as a low-fructose sweetener.
I make my own muffins using usually a nut-based ‘flour’, carrots, banana, berries sometimes apples & do add organic eggs to them.
Sushi is a treat which I enjoy & I almost always have some form of seafood – tuna, salmon, prawns; but also happily enjoy avocado & veggie-based sushi. I don’t eat the soy sauce!
I don’t eat soy-based products often, but used to drink soy milk in my coffee from 2008-2015. I don’t eat store bought sweets or cakes but used to LOVE both & indulge regularly in my sweet tooth – like eating a whole pack of sweets on the way home from work.
We are fortunate that there is a growing community of vegan restaurants & nowadays the word ‘vegan’ is not just associated with tie-dye t-shirts, the smell of incense & dreadlocks. Being vegan is cool. It shows you care about your own health; but also the environment. Check out Sadhana Kitchen, Earth to Table, Nalini’s in Bondi Junction or many of the ‘healthy cafes’ like Paleo Cafe, Bondi Wholefoods & Henley’s Wholefoods, have vegan options.
I am not trying to spark debate here, as a predominately plant based person (I don’t want to label myself as vegan as I am not 100% vegan), I agree that steering towards plant-based is the way of the future. Let’s build people up, educate & help them be more imaginative about eating more vegan meals, not tear them down for doing things that many vegans used to do themselves….
I welcome your feedback.
Peas, love & healthiness xxx Alice